Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) says it added 64 million net new customers (+35%) in the year to 31 March 2009, to take its combined regional mobile customer base to 249 million. The group’s aggregate mobile customer base in all eight markets – Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – grew 7.3%, or 17 million on a sequential quarterly basis despite the intense competition in the markets and the slowdown in the economies. Meanwhile, the proportionate mobile customer base rose 33% from a year ago or 7% from a quarter ago, it said.
SingTel’s regional associates continued to post double-digit customer growth of between 10% and 52% compared to a year ago. Bharti, India’s number one mobile phone operator by subscribers, posted the biggest jump in customers: its mobile base reached 93.9 million customers as at 31 March 2009, an increase of 52% from a year ago or 9.7% on a quarterly basis. Indonesian cellco Telkomsel increased its base by 41% or 20.8 million from a year ago, and added 6.8 million new customers in 1Q09 alone, and grew its market share by three percentage points to 49% by end-March. Thailand and the Philippines, classed as ‘more mature markets’ by SingTel, also posted strong mobile customer additions. AIS in Thailand added 2.5 million mobile subscribers, up 10%, while Globe added 4.5 million mobile customers or 21% more than a year ago. In Pakistan, Warid grew its total customer base by three million to 17.4 million, an increase of 21% from a year ago. PBTL’s total mobile customer base in Bangladesh was 1.9 million, an increase of 315,000, or 20% on 1Q08. Elsewhere, Australian subsidiary Optus’ mobile customer base expanded 9.1% from a year ago to 7.79 million as at 31 March 2009.
In its home market, SingTel extended its market share and leadership position in the mobile segment it said, adding 405,000 new customers, or 16% more from a year ago, bringing its total mobile customer base to 2.98 million and extending its market share to 46.4% as at 31 March 2009, an increase of three percentage points from a year ago. A total of 34,000 new mobile customers were added during the quarter, of which 22,000 were post-paid net additions. Demand for 3G services continued to remain strong, with 72,000 subscribers added. As at 31 March 2009, SingTel’s total 3G mobile subscriber base reached 1.21 million, it said.